Auto bailout bill dies in Senate

By John O'Brien | Dec 12, 2008


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The proposed $14 billion federal bailout of the automotive industry closely watched by a group of state attorneys general has been voted down by the U.S. Senate.

Chrysler, General Motors and Ford all sought federal money to aid their financial woes, but the package was defeated Thursday night by a 52-35 vote. It needed 60 to pass.

The House of Representatives had passed the bill Wednesday with a 237-170 vote. Ten Republican and 40 Democratic senators voted in favor of it, while three Democrats and 31 Republicans opposed it.

Seven state attorneys general wrote to Congress in November, urging lawmakers to force tougher emissions requirements on the companies asking for federal money. Chrysler, GM and Ford are seeking $14 billion in federal loans and lines of credit.

Those attorneys general were Rhode Island's Patrick Lynch, Vermont's William Sorrell, California's Jerry Brown, Maryland's Doug Gansler, Massachusetts' Martha Coakley, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal and Oregon's Hardy Myers

"(I)f the U.S. auto industry is serious about taking millions in aid from our pockets, it must show us that it too is serious about global warming and taking a leading (and therefore profitable) role as a producer of fuel-efficient and carbon-sensitive vehicles," the letter says.

The State of California has set its own emissions standards that are stricter than the federal Environmental Protection Agency's and have been adopted by other states. The automotive industry say states can not preempt federal law and have appealed a ruling that says they can.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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